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GM Joe Schoen: Giants’ work is just getting started

It’s been a whirlwind since Schoen took over as GM in late January, and the pace won’t slow down any time soon

NFL: MAR 01 Scouting Combline
Joe Schoen answers questions at the Combine.
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The New York Giants hired Joe Schoen as general manager on Jan. 21, and have been a whirlwind of activity ever since. Still, the work of putting the broken Giants back together is just beginning, and the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine will be critical.

That won’t be simply because the Giants will get to interview and watch 2022 NFL Draft prospects up close.

“We’re behind. Again, we just met as a staff a week ago, as a full staff – defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator, their staff, the special teams staff ... it’s morning, noon and night,” Schoen said. “Guys are in there and we’re kind of building our bond. I know Dabes has taken the staff out several times for dinner and a lot of laughter and offline conversations. The coaching staff has been working really hard, not just on installing playbooks, but they dove into free agency with the names that we gave them and then also some of the draft picks that we’re going to speak with here.

“When we get back, we’ll have free agency meetings with the coaching staff. They did great in terms of evaluation and their ability to communicate what they’re looking for defensively, offensively and that makes our job easier to go and find those types of players. We’re a little bit behind, but we’re going to catch up real quick because the staff’s been amazing.”

Salary cap maneuvers

The first order of business for the Giants is getting under the salary cap. As of Tuesday, Over The Cap estimates the Giants at $24.779 million over the 2022 cap.

“We’re getting together with some of the agents of the players on our current roster and starting some initial conversations,” Schoen said. “Sooner than later we’ll start making the necessary moves to get under the salary cap and start planning for the 2022 season.”

Schoen has said he wants to clear roughly $40 million from the Giants’ cap. He indicated that the conversations he has with agents over the next couple of days will have a big impact on how he does that.

“Between where we are now, what it’s going to cost to sign our draft class, the cost of the practice squad’s going up this year because the veterans can make more money, and then you’ve got replacement costs, not just for injuries but if you did want to make a move at the trade deadline you want to leave yourself some room for that,” Schoen said. “You start adding all that up that’s where you get roughly $40 million.”

“Open for business”

Schoen said he is “open for business” when it comes to discussing anything and everything that will help the Giants get under the cap now and put them in a better position for the future.

That would include the possibility of trading running back Saquon Barkley.

“I’m open to everything. Whether it’s trading player for player, I’ll listen to anybody. I’m not going to say we’re open for business on the entire roster but if anybody’s going to call and they’re interested in any of our players I’ll certainly listen.

“We’re in a situation where unfortunately we have to get under the salary cap. We’re not in very good salary cap health. I’m not going to say yes to every deal, but I’ll be open to the situations that are best for the New York Giants.”

What might Barkley’s value be, either contractually or as a trade chip?

“We’ll see … in free agency it’s not what the player was, it’s what’s he going to be this year. That’s what you’ve got to evaluate, and I think there’s some unknown,” Schoen said. “But I think everyone can say when the kid’s healthy he’s one of the best backs in the league.”

Schoen said restructuring contracts, which would push salary cap money into the future, would be “a last resort.”

Improving and clearing cap space?

Can that actually be done?

“That’s the big question. How do you get under the cap and you still stay competitive this year?,” Schoen said.

“We want to be a competitive team, but you also have to keep the future in mind. You have the draft capital, you have the cap situation that you’re currently in – it is what it is, you’ve gotta figure it out, but can you also be active in free agency? How can you do that?”

Schoen made it clear multiple times that he does not want to punt on 2022.

“Every decision we make that’s what I’m thinking. I want to make it the best I can. Draft, free agency,” Schoen said. “You guys asked me about a rebuild before. I don’t want to go out and get my head beat in ever. I want to have a competitive team and do what’s best for the franchise in the future.

“No, I’d like to build the roster the best we can so we can be competitive this year.”

Stay with Big Blue View for more coverage of the Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll Tuesday press conferences, and for full coverage of the Combine throughout the week.

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